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1995 Bonneville Worth it?


Cheese Burger Eddy

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Cheese Burger Eddy

So I love the idea of a FWD, Supercharged 4 door sedan. I occasionally troll local sales pages for Grand Prix, Bonnevilles, Regals or Impalas that fit the bill. Most of them are trashed, but a few months ago a 96 Bonneville SSEI popped up. It has 133k miles, looks reasonably clean, needs a windshield, probably tires/brakes and a harmonic balancer. He wants $1300. This is Canada though, with plenty of rusted out junk around. 

I know that age of Regal/GP had issues with rusting in the rear strut tower, but obviously it is a W-Body platform with the SSEI being the H-Body, but I know they had some overlap.

Any experience with these? The guy is firm at $1300, but it is one of the cheapest L67 powered cars that didn't appear to be a complete junker.

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oldmangrimes

$1300 sounds like not so much money.   But add in the cost of tires, brakes, harmonic balancer, windshield, at least one really expensive surprise, and it's a $2500 purchase, probably $3000 if you count what breaks the first 500 miles you drive it.   Might need wheel bearings, ball joints, shocks, etc., it's 25 years old.  Do you know any history on it, was it sitting for a long time?    Is your goal to have a weekend fun second car that can be a project, or a reliable, large, daily driver?   Or do you just want a car with the most center console buttons in the history of automobile design?   Are you turning the wrenches yourself or paying a mechanic?   Your answers to those questions will help you decide what to do.   Anyway, you should pay a mechanic for a pre-purchase inspection, he'll put it on a lift and tell you about any urgently needed repairs.   It's worth the money, I've had mechanics talk me out of at least two cars over the years that I really wanted to buy but didn't realize how bad they really were.   

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Greetings,

 

WHERE in Canada? are you in the states? personally I wouldn't touch an Ontario or Quebec car of this age unless it's been garaged for near it's entire life & it's been repeatedly rustproofed. I live in Ontario.

Bonnys are an H platform vehicle, there are no chassis parts that are interchangable with the 1st gen W platform, there are just a handful of common parts that are shared on both the 2nd gen W & the H cars.

 

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Cheese Burger Eddy
45 minutes ago, oldmangrimes said:

$1300 sounds like not so much money.   But add in the cost of tires, brakes, harmonic balancer, windshield, at least one really expensive surprise, and it's a $2500 purchase, probably $3000 if you count what breaks the first 500 miles you drive it.   Might need wheel bearings, ball joints, shocks, etc., it's 25 years old.  Do you know any history on it, was it sitting for a long time?    Is your goal to have a weekend fun second car that can be a project, or a reliable, large, daily driver?   Or do you just want a car with the most center console buttons in the history of automobile design?   Are you turning the wrenches yourself or paying a mechanic?   Your answers to those questions will help you decide what to do.   Anyway, you should pay a mechanic for a pre-purchase inspection, he'll put it on a lift and tell you about any urgently needed repairs.   It's worth the money, I've had mechanics talk me out of at least two cars over the years that I really wanted to buy but didn't realize how bad they really were.   

Fun second car, wrenching at home for most things, but normally I leave bigger stuff too a mechanic. Fluids, breaks, some electronics, some engines stuff I am comfortable with, but no pulling the engine/trans, not going to redo much suspension wise etc. I have zero history on the car and from what I understand, it is a daily driver or was until the mentioned balancer issues.

45 minutes ago, 55trucker said:

Greetings,

 

WHERE in Canada? are you in the states? personally I wouldn't touch an Ontario or Quebec car of this age unless it's been garaged for near it's entire life & it's been repeatedly rustproofed. I live in Ontario.

Bonnys are an H platform vehicle, there are no chassis parts that are interchangable with the 1st gen W platform, there are just a handful of common parts that are shared on both the 2nd gen W & the H cars.

 

Alberta. Yes we use salt/sand, but I have seen some pretty clean cars despite that. I know the Bonnieville is an H-Body and I know the chassis is different, but figured both have an L67 so enthusiasts of that engine, which most W-Body owners are, may have experience with both. I know the Regal and the Grand Prix pre-03(?) had an issue with rusting strut towers for sure which was a w-body thing. resources for H-body cars are pretty sparse and probably will become even more rare over time.

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It's been  40 years since I last lived there, but Alberta is an exception to salt rot, at one time salt wasn't used at all. Take a good look at it, close inspection of the rockers & the trailing arm boxes for corrosion, I take it that when you state 133k that's not miles but kilometres.

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jimmyfloyd

is it a 95 or 96? Big difference in engine there. The 95 will have a Series 1 supercharged motor, and the 1996 will have a Series 2. Common rust areas are under the rocker cladding, especially behind the front wheels, and under the corners of the rear seat, in front of the rear wheels. If it is a 95, the front fenders are plastic, and can trap rust. If 96, they are metal and would rust as well. Both areas are hidden by cladding. Check Subframe mounts, rear quarter, and bottoms of the doors as well. 

interior, if it has a sunroof, look for signs of water in the front floors from a leaking sunroof drain. If the windshield needs to be replace, and it has HUD (it will being an SSEi) they had a special windshield  to project the image onto. The standard windshield could be used, but it may ghost the image. 

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Subframe rust, they like to rot in front of the rear wheels in the doglegs, rockers seem to be the favorite places they like to rust out in.

Miss my 97' SSE, what a great car it was.

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